Of all mass extinction events that have ever occurred on Earth, the Great Dying was THE MOST DEVASTATING one but, the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event is THE MOST FAMOUS extinction event. Why? Because this extinction event that happened 66 million years ago, ended once and for all, the rule of the dinosaurs on planet Earth and cleared the way for human evolution. So, let us learn 30 interesting Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event facts and find out what really happened that brought an end to the likes of T-Rex and other massive dinosaurs that breathe fear in us even today!
Interesting Cretaceous–Tertiary Extinction Event Facts: 1-10
1. The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event (abbreviated as K-T extinction) is also known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (abbreviated as K-Pg extinction).
2. This event was responsible for wiping out 3/4th of all animal and plant species that lived on Earth during that period.
3. This extinction event marked the end of the Cretaceous period and the Mesozoic Era. After the Mesozoic Era ended, the Cenozoic Era began which continues till date.
4. The most famous of all animals that lived during the period were the dinosaurs. The event wiped out all non-avian dinosaurs completely.
5. The dinosaurs had already lived for 165 million years with several species evolving and dying out but by the time of this event, the whole of dinosaur species was already struggling with survival and the event was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, putting an end to their misery.
6. Though we most often restrict our attention to dinosaurs, the K-T extinction killed several other animal and plant species.
7. The gargantuan Plesiosaurs and Mosasaurs in seas, the last of Pterosaurs in sky, many sea sponges and brachiopods, the last of the hard-shelled ammonites were completely obliterated.
8. Here is a quick list of what was destroyed and what was left:
- Archosaurs (from which modern crocodilians and birds evolved) survived and rest of all dinosaurs perished.
- 13% of planktonic foraminiferal and coccolithopore genera lived. Every other planktonic flora and fauna of marine world was annihilated.
- Belemnoids and ammonoids among the free-swimming mollusks were obliterated completely.
- Inoceramids which were strategically important during the period were also wiped out completely.
- Only 1/5th of hermatypic corals survived.
9. The K-T extinction has an interesting aspect. The impact of the event differed on different life forms. For example, land-based plants survived better than land-based animals despite the fact that several plant species were completely obliterated.
10. Certain reptilian groups like snakes, lizards, crocodilians and turtles were not affected or very slightly affected. Some mammals and amphibians also had mild impact.